Maxima Mea Culpa

Alex Gibney’s new documentary, Maxima Mea Culpa, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival this year, casts a critical eye on the issue of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, and most striking is the film’s expose of how this abuse was, and still is, covered up not by low and middle ranking priests in the Catholic Cannon but rather by the Vatican itself, by the Pope and his Cardinals. Ratzinger is culpable and must be tried for gross criminal negligence. As Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for over two decades prior to becoming Pope, he time and again read and reviewed, but refused to act on, reports of pedophile priests worldwide. Rather than banishing such men from service in the community, he allowed them to continue their work, and with it, their systematic abuse of children. This denial has ruined many lives. Ratzinger has showed his weakness and cowardice, failing to confront the institutional delusion of his church, which believes that serial sex-offending priests can be treated and permitted to continue their public service when it is clearly evident that the majority of these men are beyond reform. Implicit in this idea that they can be treated is the belief that if they confess and pray enough they will be rehabilitated. And yet they confess to a priest whose loyalty lies not with the victim but with the institution he serves, an institution which, in spite of its noble and loving ideals, serves itself first and foremost, and is determined to hold onto its power and influence no matter what, even if this means denying the horrendous abuse of hundreds of thousands of children. And they pray to a Church which does little to prevent such further abuses, still insisting on celibacy within its ranks when well aware that 50% of its priests are engaged in some form of sexual activity. The Pope, if he is indeed a man of God, must hold himself to account, and then must change the institution he governs.

About Nick Taussig

Nick Taussig is the author of four critically acclaimed novels: Love and Mayhem, Don Don, Gorilla Guerrilla and The Distinguished Assassin. He has also written for a number of publications including The Guardian, The Independent and The Huffington Post. Marcel Berlins, writing in The Times, called The Distinguished Assassin “gripping, passionate, political and emotional.” Love and Mayhem was described by Alain de Botton as “full of insight and genuine innovation in form and content…capturing brilliantly all the nuances of passion.” Matt Munday of The Sunday Times referred to Don Don as “a great book.” While Gorilla Guerrilla, according to Natasha Harding of The Sun, is a “thought-provoking tale…beautifully told.” He is also a film producer. His recent credits include producer of Peter Williams’ The Challenge, Jane Preston’s Gascoigne, Ron Scalpello’s Offender and Nirpal Bhogal’s Sket (Official Selection at the 55th BFI London Film Festival with two award nominations), and executive producer of Ben Drew aka Plan B’s highly praised BIFA-nominated debut feature iLL Manors and the BAFTA-nominated documentary film Taking Liberties. In January 2013, he set up Salon Pictures with fellow producer Paul Van Carter. Before his career in book and film, Nick studied literature and philosophy at Durham University, where he obtained a First, then went on to acquire a Master’s in Russian literature from the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies. He is also co-founder of Mtaala Foundation, an education partnership and sponsorship programme to create and support a school for vulnerable children and at-risk youth in Uganda; and a trustee of Harrison’s Fund, which fights Duchenne muscular dystrophy, getting as much money as possible into the hands of the world’s best researchers, who are working to find a cure for this horrible disease.

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